What seemed to be an eternity only turned out to be five minutes. A sigh escapes as I recall the days I used to own my own car. With my plastered fake smile I head to the back of the bus. On my way I see faces all telling their own stories, obviously engrossed in their little worlds as I am mine. There are always children on the bus which irritate me because they often are smiling. What are they smiling about? Don’t they know that life is shit? I take up a seat next to the window to try and just fade away. The next stop an attractive lady gets on and sits down on the only seat available. I feel sorry for her that she has to sit next to someone like me. Unable to make eye contact I acknowledge her with a barely audible “Good Morning”, and swiftly return to my window watching post. I see more faces outside all living out their personal stories. They all seem to have a sense of purpose, something I envy more than anything else. The entire bus ride I could not shake the nagging feeling that others are living more than me.
I once read somewhere that the true reason behind a problem is only one reason; not the myriad that tend to be given. It may be true that others have more than me and I am not what I dream to be, but these are not the true sources of my unhappiness. I am miserable because I do not appreciate myself, my capabilities, and my place in this world. Children annoy me because in general they fully accept who they are, as they have no reason to doubt themselves. They live fully in the moment being happy with their talents as they have not bought into the belief of not being good enough. Without the belief there is no cause to self-judge based on the opinions of others.
Polar opposite to my childhood, during my adolescence I began to care what everyone had to say. I judged myself based on what my parents, teachers, friends, religion, and society had to say. I could never live up to those expectations, and could not bear the judgments which eventually got me sick with the sorry syndrome. Feeling like a bothersome fly, I apologized obsessively for everything ever spoken, felt, and irrationally implied. It was my way of apologizing for being me. The inability to accept myself lends itself to excruciating pain that opens the door to the darkest of places. My other pains stem from feelings & actions associated with my character, but never questions the premise of a need for a character.
Self-loathing questions my very existence and my right to live.
I turned to my negative emotions & actions to provide me with an identity to replace the one missing from my wallet. I am depressed, I am unlovable, I am useless, I am worthless, I am a victim, and I am an addict are just a few among the many others. On the contrary when I did a good thing or experienced a good emotion I didn’t identify myself with it. Instead I contributed it to either a societal norm, or something abnormal.
Use muffled the agony of self-loathing, but as with all eventualities of my use it kept supplying the venom under the guise of removing it. The poisonous blend of self-loathing and use often threw me into the dark room with the door slammed shut. Unable to bear the sight of me in the mirror of my bathroom; I opted many a times to make the darkness permanent. My scarred wrists sweep over the keyboard while I write this sentence. They are a testimony of the past and a hope for the future. They defiantly say….. I survived.
Courage has been a word foreign to me as the idea of another sport called football is to NFL fans. As I sat through many recovery and self-help groups I was introduced to the concept. Some of the most courageous men and women I have had the honor of knowing, are the ones in these groups. They are people who can admit what they have done, own it, try to be OK with it, and with great sacrifice pledge themselves to sobriety. They do not fear emotion; they place their beating hearts onto the table for all to see. These groups have had more of an effect than me than all of the reproof and speeches others have given me. It was here that I learnt to join the rebellion.
To admit, to own, and to act takes some real courage. The once unshakable identities I adopted from self-loathing began to unravel. I have given myself permission to not identify myself by passing thoughts, feelings, and deeds. I am not depressed and I am not an addict; rather I have feelings of depression, and have issues with addictions, I am a good person inside who has a story like everyone else. I have a purpose, a place and something unique to contribute to this world. Exposing my naked emotional self through this blog where anybody can see it like an employer may be considered courageous or psychotic depending on who you ask.
How did this revolution start? When were the seeds of the rebellion planted? It started with honestly admitting and owning up to what I have done. It sounds simple but it is probably the hardest thing I have ever done. Many times I have used my mouth to admit that I have a problem, and have often told others that I accept responsibility for it. My performance deserved an Emmy as I have won over many people with my performances. Even after all this time being sober, I am only beginning to scrape the surface of how much power honest acceptance holds.
Admittance was not a onetime thing for me; it is a daily necessity. as it is the only way I am able to come to peace with myself. Erasing beliefs that seem to be etched in stone still remains a daunting task. If my whole life I believed my self-worth was measured by the standard of others how am I supposed to accept these radical beliefs that tell me to disregard all that. I know all too well the dark room my decades long belief system has led me into. I am going to continue to try and take this new path despite the difficulty because it leads to me a very bright room.